An 18-wheeler weighs 80,000 pounds or 40 tons. This ginormous vehicle overpowers most of the personal vehicles on the road that average about 5,000 pounds. This means truck drivers take on extra responsibility to drive safely. When a truck gets into an accident with an average vehicle, it results in devastating damage to the smaller vehicle.
If you have had an accident with an 18-wheeler, you need to take legal action right away. After visiting the hospital or talking to authorities, call a lawyer to get guidance on how to proceed. You deserve to be financially made whole again. The lawyers at Walker Texas Lawyer can get you the support and compensation you deserve and need.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The cause of the truck accident plays a large role in how you will proceed legally. Accidents occur for various reasons but primarily due to the fault of the truck driver or the fault of the car driver.
Truck Driver Error
Truck driver error makes up 1/3 of truck accidents. Some 18 wheeler driver errors include:
- distracted driving
- intoxicated driving
- falling asleep at the wheel
- reckless driving
- improper training
Truck drivers must drive especially cautiously due to the size of the vehicle. They receive extensive training on how to drive safely. However, even the best truck driver can make a serious mistake.
Truck drivers must adhere to certain regulations regarding rest to prevent driving to the point of exhaustion. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow these regulations, especially if they want to finish the job in a hurry. Drivers can only drive 12 hours a day and must have 8 hours of rest before getting back on the road. A driver cannot exceed 70 hours of driving in 7 days.
Car Driver Error
Drivers need to drive carefully around large 18 wheelers. Unfortunately, not all drivers take the proper precautions. Drivers should stay out of the truck’s blind spot, avoid sudden movements, and give the truck plenty of space. The biggest mistake is getting too comfortable around trucks and skipping over the necessary precautions. Also, new drivers should avoid driving on the road with trucks until receiving proper training and gaining experience.
Who pays when a truck driver causes an accident? The answer varies case to case. First, you need to determine whether the truck driver works for a company or works as an independent contractor. If the driver works for a company, the company will likely be responsible for their employee. The driver can become liable if under the influence, or if they committed a reckless moving violation.
Recently, Texas passed House Bill 19. This bill makes it more difficult to sue commercial vehicle operators after an accident. The bill intends to promote more trucking business in the state, but it makes prosecution more difficult. Talk to your lawyer about how this can affect you and your case.
At times, the person who is at fault may not be so clear. In these cases, the insurance companies will often determine how much responsibility belongs to each party for insurance payment purposes. That is why it is always important to consult your lawyer before you take any insurance settlement.
What to Do After an 18 Wheeler Accident
After an accident, you need to take action to protect yourself by doing the following;
Get Medical Attention
If you got injured during the accident, it’s important to get medical attention immediately. A doctor will document the physical ailments you suffered and what will be required for recovery. Waiting until too long after the accident can open up doubt about the origin of your injuries. Even if you feel fine, you should get checked out in case of internal damage or injuries you may not feel yet due to shock.
Speak to a Lawyer
Get your lawyer on the phone as soon as possible. Describe the incident in as much detail as possible and be completely honest about what happened. The lawyer can guide you on how best to describe the accident in the most advantageous way for your case.
Proving fault can get tricky. You need as much evidence as possible. Look for witnesses who can support your claim. Take pictures to show the damage that occurred (with a timestamp if possible). Finally, look for cameras that may have caught the incident.
Provide Testimony to insurance Companies and Authorities
You need to tell your insurance company what happened. Provide the details of the incident exactly as your lawyer told you to describe it. Do not fluctuate or change your description of the accident in any way. Involve the police if necessary and give the insurance company any relevant documentation. When the insurance company offers a settlement, do not take it without consulting your lawyer. Insurance companies work to provide the lowest amount possible. Get a lawyer to fight for the highest compensation possible.
Avoid Social Media
Completely valid cases can get torpedoed by careless social media posting. Avoid talking about the accident publicly at all. The attorneys for the other party will scour all social media accounts for inconsistencies or opportunities to put the blame on you. Don’t talk about the case until it is over.
Accidents can cause more emotional devastation than anticipated. It is okay to experience PTSD, anxiety, or depression after a truck accident. Get the support you need by going to a therapist or looking for support groups in your area. While you may not ever feel completely safe next to a truck again, you can learn to deal with your fear.
Walker Texas Lawyer
Everything is bigger in Texas, including truck accident compensation. Call Walker Texas Lawyer, your personal injury lawyers, to schedule a free case review about your accident. If you have a solid case, your lawyer will work with you to get the best result possible. Walker Texas Lawyer has the experience and dedication necessary to help you pick up the pieces after a truck accident.